More families flocking to new Sheffield children’s centre

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FAMILIES and their youngsters are receiving a ‘satisfactory’ service from a Sheffield children’s centre, a team of inspectors has found.

Beighton Children’s Centre, which opened fully only in 2008, is being used by more and more families and a majority of those in the area are now on its register.

But it has limited numbers of staff and restricted space to offer services from its base, which is close to a private nursery and Brook House Junior School.

Inspectors were encouraged the centre was being used by more people and felt it had the capacity to improve.

They still felt more work needed to be done to persuade more families to use its facilities, while staff needed to target their work more strategically and monitor the results.

The centre’s success in making contact with particular target groups was variable, but the majority of vulnerable families attending were being very well supported.

Parents all said they felt safe at the centre, but their state of health was variable.

Obesity levels had increased slightly and remained above the national average, while only 41 per cent of women breast-fed their babies, below national expectations.

Take-up of Government-funded childcare places was high but youngsters’ achievements were variable and just below national targets.

Sheffield’s executive director of children and young people’s services Dr Sonia Sharp said the centre had made good progress in a short time.

“It has a new co-ordinator who is leading a small but enthusiastic team in the right direction,” she said. “There has been some encouraging progress with the breast-feeding and popular baby massage sessions, while the first aid training and family learning sessions have also been well received by parents.”

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